Owner, LightHeart Gear
During her thru-hike attempt of the Appalachian Trail in 2006, Judy found the tent she was using was far too heavy and occupied too much space in her pack. With her long term sewing experience, she began to investigate ultra-light tents which led to a new design with a unique structural support system (which she patented) utilizing hiking poles rather than tent poles. She originally thought that she could make one for herself and maybe a few for friends, but the popularity of the new design led to the genesis of her company LightHeart Gear in 2009. In 2011, she started Excelsior Sewing to support the manufacturing of the tents and the growing line of LightHeart Gear products, and perform contract sewing services for other outdoor gear companies (including many fellow members of the Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC).
Judy remains an avid through-hiker; with a lighter tent on her back, she returned to and completed the Appalachian Trail, and in more recent years, completed the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and others.